Sunday 22 April 2018

Relatives watch as Omagh bomb accused in court

Seamus Daly arrives at Omagh Magistrates Court yesterday. Photo: PA
Seamus Daly arrives at Omagh Magistrates Court yesterday. Photo: PA

Adrian Rutherford

Relatives of the Omagh bomb victims watched as a bricklayer accused of causing the atrocity appeared in court in the town yesterday.

Seamus Daly is charged with murdering 29 people in the 1998 Real IRA attack.

He was brought to court in a prison van and led inside, handcuffed to a security officer.

It came ahead of a hearing at Omagh Magistrates Court to determine if there is enough evidence to proceed to trial.

It was the first time Mr Daly (45), of Jonesborough, south Armagh, appeared in court in Omagh since his arrest in April 2014 in Dungannon.

Subsequent hearings have been conducted by video-link from the high-security Maghaberry Prison.

Relatives of the dead, including Michael Gallagher and Stanley McCombe, were among a group of relatives sitting just feet away. Mr Gallagher lost his 21-year-old son Aidan and Mr McComb's wife Ann died in the bombing on August 15, 1998.

Dressed in jeans, a grey quarter-zip fleece and matching cardigan, Mr Daly stood motionless as the names of his alleged victims were read out as each individual charge was put to him. Asked if he objected to the holding of the hearing, Daly replied "no". The preliminary inquiry ran throughout yesterday and is due to continue today.

District Judge Peter King will then decide if the case meets the required standard to warrant trial.

A number of witnesses will give evidence over the two days.

However, legal restrictions prevent media outlets reporting details.

Daly is charged with 29 counts of murder.

He also faces charges of causing the explosion and possessing the bomb, and two charges relating to another dissident republican bomb plot in Lisburn in April 1998.

No-one has been convicted in a criminal court of carrying out the attack.

Irish Independent

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